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Germans were a class apart -- Ward

IT'S A BLUNT but honest assessment of the events of Friday night at Lansdowne Road -- Ireland's players are simply not at the same level as opposition from nations like Germany.

Just four of Ireland's starting XI against Germany could be considered first-team regulars at clubs from a top-class league, while almost the entire German XI was made up of established Champions League regulars.

"Friday showed the reason why these players are at the top clubs and in the Champions League, going for €20million when they move clubs. There is a gulf in class there and that's evident," says Stephen Ward.

"You have to remember some of the players we were up against. You hate to lose any game but you also have to hold your hand up and admit that some of their play and their goals were world class.

"To overcome a team like Germany you need them to have an off-day and you need to be at your best, and neither of those things happened in the Germany game.

"Maybe it's just the case that we are at the clubs we're at for a reason. They are all at the likes of Bayern Munich and Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund and we're not.

"People don't realise the gap between clubs like those and the clubs we're at and there is only so far that hard work and determination can get you sometimes and that was shown up in the game.

"But still, the manner of the defeat wasn't good enough," added the Wolves defender, who won his 17th cap in the defeat to Germany.